Writing With Substance: You Can Haz it! SRSLY!

Reading and Writing: Assignment

1. Read this essay on telephones by Dr. Ian Bogost. Read the entire essay as well as the biographical details provided on the author. Write a paragraph that offers a summary of the article that conveys the essay's primary points and the basic structure Bogost deploys to convey those points. Then consider your summary in light of what you know (and can infer) about Bogost's position, intellectual interests, and scholarly training. Add two more sentences to your paragraph that reflect upon the way you see Bogost's academic perspectives informing his approach to thinking about the telephone and the way he constructs his essay on it.

2. Spend some time thinking about your own intellectual interests--that is, the things that you like but also think about with curiosity and a mind invested in knowing more. From there, come up with an object, a form of media/entertainment, a social phenomenon, or political issue related to those interests that you could ponder more deeply in the way that Bogost thinks about the telephone. It's fine to start with things that you aren't sure are fit for academic study!  Indeed, one of the lessons I hope you'll learn quickly as we move through our work is that almost anything can lead to deep, analytical thinking and academic inquiry. 

3. Check your university email account for an email from me inviting you to contribute to a Google document (connected to your university email account, which you must check regularly for this course). Use the link therein to access the document; as indicated in the instructions, narrow down what you thought about for item 2 (above) and phrase it as a topic the document. You and I will be the only people who have access to that document, so you need not worry about what your classmates think about your interests. I'm going to see them, but I will view them with an eye towards helping you explore them as well as develop and refine them into viable paper topics later in this course. (And of course, you'll be allowed to change your mind and your interests, so nothing you write in the document will force you to commit to a topic.)

4. Then, write a few sentences that explain your interest in it and the source of your existing knowledge. What motivates your curiosity and desire to learn more?  What, if anything, have you read about these topics thus far? 

5. Then consider how you might supplement what you already know through academic study. What kinds of scholars do you think might write about your topic? How might scholars in various academic disciplines might study your object? Review the list of Academic Departments and Programs at our university and choose two or three from the list. Then write two paragraphs in response to the following question: how do you think scholars from the fields you've chosen would explore your topic? What aspects of your topic do you think they might be drawn to? What questions would they want to answer in relation to it? What kinds of training or background knowledge do you expect them to have that would shape how they respond to your topic? 

You need not submit your work anywhere; I will be able to access your work at the same link.  

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